Scotland County loves its Fighting Scots football, especially at the varsity level. And we certainly realize that many put football in the top three of most important things, along with God and family — the order of that importance may change depending on what day of the week it is.
But just one game into the 2018 season, fans are already worried, and the numbers are the reason.
47-19 … the final score of Saturday’s season opener.
Eight … the number of seniors on this season’s team.
0-1 … Scotland High’s record.
Those are numbers Fighting Scots fans, coaches and players aren’t used to dealing with. But after Saturday’s loss to Butler High in Charlotte, the things head coach Richard Bailey has been saying for weeks — his team is talented but young, and they have a long way to go — proved to be true.
After a long run of being one of the premiere Class 4-A football teams in the state, being in the position of rebuilding after graduating 32 seniors — including the nation’s No. 1 rated runningback — is a difficult pill to swallow.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t light at the end of the 2018 season tunnel.
Will the Fighting Scots go undefeated in the Sandhills 4A Conference? Maybe not.
Will the Fighting Scots win the conference crown? Hard to say.
Will the Fighting Scots advance to another state championship? Possibly not.
And then there’s the other side of that coin.
Will the Fighting Scots be exciting to watch? Yes.
Will Bailey and his assistants keep the Fighting Scots working hard? Yes.
Will the young Fighting Scots gain valuable experience for next season? Yes.
But here’s the important part: YOU have to do your part.
It’s easy to be a fan when the team is winning. Being a fan, however, when that team is struggling and rebuilding is what makes a true fan; one that gives full support no matter what. Even “The Dawg Pound” in Cleveland hasn’t wavered in its support of the Browns since 1985, despite numerous losing seasons — including an 0-16 edition last season.
Support is important, but along with that should be a healthy dose of patience. This season’s Fighting Scots have very little or no varsity experience, so they will be put in positions very unfamiliar and pressure-packed. And keep in mind, these are teenagers, mostly 16 and 17 years old who will do their best and continue to keep improving — they hardly need the overblown expectations of fans to overshadow those efforts.
Fans should keep in mind Bailey’s words from Monday evening when, during the Coach Richard Bailey Show on WLNC, he told those in attendance and listening to the radio that his varsity is young, talented and will get better. He also said the junior varsity has the chance to be real special.
That bodes well for the 2019 season, when this season’s 28 juniors and 10 sophomores take what they’ve learned and experienced and unleash it on a quivering conference.
So let’s be patient, continue to support the Fighting Scots every week and maybe, just maybe, this season will give us all some unexpected surprises.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Patience is not about waiting, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” (Unknown)